Along Came Sandy

This is the first time in my puny life that the city was shut down over a hurricane. School’s closed, the subway’s shutdown and even the stock market has taken a day off from making 99 percent of the people miserable. Is it necessary? I could argue with it. I’ve just been out to get milk and honestly, I’ve been through rain storms more treacherous than this. (This was before the winds really kicked in at 4pm. I just witnessed my neighbor’s shed demolish into bits).

But I get it.

The shutdown is to keep the idiots off the streets. Not dumb-asses like me – I’m talking about the crazies like the eighty-pound grandma who insisted on using her umbrella against 60mph winds. What the heck was she going shopping for anyway – saltines and butter?
People like her make me appreciate my own mother, who left me a voice message saying, “I’m taking some pills and going to bed until the storm is over.” Made sense. But then she followed it with, “Remember to take a bath. And save the water…in case you have to use it for doing laundry.”

I was afraid she was going to give me permission to drink it.

Naturally, I’m drinking something else and that’s thanks to all the immigrant bodega owners of Sunnyside. They don’t give a shit what the Mayor says. Bad weather, black outs, zombie apocalypse – nothing’s going to stop them from selling beer, milk and Lotto tickets to their loyal customers.

All I can say is, there’s gonna be an East Coast population boom in July.

At least Hurricane Sandy didn’t hamper any plans for us this year. By the seat of my pants, I got through a big outdoor event for the PTA and “Swanoween” – an over-the-top Halloween party thrown by my friend, Swan.

Zuki and Samu look forward to it every Halloween, even though it makes them break out into a cold sweat. A basement set up with life size figures of Jason killing Freddy Krueger while Mike Myers watches, will do that to you.

Every year, Samu summons up the courage to see it but he winds up munching all the Cheez Doodles instead. As if they’d give him cheesy balls.

 

To the moon!

 

Samu the Mu-mmy
Darth Maul needs to tie his shoe laces
Why are you constipated?
Who-Invited-This-Guy and the Narcissistic Grinch
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Birthday Tradition

Anything done two years in a row is a tradition in my book. It seems “Dinosaur Barbecue” is the latest addition when it comes to birthday celebrations. Last year, we took Zuki to the Museum of Natural History followed by ribs with actual meat on them. But considering we’d been to the museum twice this summer alone, we opted for a different activity – a carousel ride. Yes, I saw the potential hazard of loading boys full of barbecue onto a spinning ride but I buffered it with a two mile walk.

Genius of me, huh?

Disclaimer: Until I get the hang of how WordPress loads pictures, I’m not sure how this post is going to look.

We started with lunch even though I knew we’d be heavily weighed down with food – and farts. We discovered the “Kids Menu” at Dinosaur Barbecue is perfect for peckish eaters – between that and the brisket we ordered, we finished it off pretty neatly.

We probably wouldn’t have had to take home the Mac n’ Cheese if my husband and I didn’t split the additional Hickory smoked bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sandwich. Thank God, for makin’ bacon. That’s all I gots to say about that.

And the beer. Can I tell you – if my home brew hadn’t exploded – this is what I’d be aiming for. Lagunita’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin. It was so good, I would swim in it. Of course, I’d drown because it’s like 7.50 ABV – but if I had to drown in anything, better that than shit, right? Plus if you order a pitcher, they give you…kid sized pint glasses. Not that we would ever share the goodness with our kids. They just got to pose with it.

Moving on to the carousel. We took a long hike along the Hudson River to the “Totally Kid Carousel” in Harlem. The “horses” and animals of the carousel were designed by children! It’s the sweetest, wackiest, most imaginative carousel that even Tim Burton couldn’t have come up with. The ride is only a buck and the music is not your standard “insane-clown-carousel” music – this is Harlem, man.

From the carousel, we made our way back down to the “Harlem Tavern,” for dessert. I don’t know why, but I feel like the name is an oxymoron. It’s like saying the “Buckingham Crib”…yo. But if any hood knows how to make a lively beer garden, it gotsa be Harlem.

Real vanilla bean ice cream.

What’s the verdict?

Now, we’re not exactly “Run Streak, Kim” but we managed to walk from the restaurant at 125th street along the Hudson River walk to 155th street, looped back towards the carousel at 145th street and ended at the tavern on 116th street. Approximately 2.3 miles if we walked straight through but of course, there was plenty of monkey business. The last ten blocks, the boys needed musical encouragement from my iPhone on speakers. I pumped up C&C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now” because I didn’t think “Eye Of The Tiger” would go over well with fellow pedestrians along Malcolm X Boulevard.

The grand finale was the Lego store in Rockefeller Center. I caught a cat nap on the benches while my husband dealt with the insanity of the store.

Tourists can be tiring, but not as much as newly turned eight-year old boys, apparently.

 

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Involved

The Chinese character for the word busy is 忙. It is “kill” and “heart,” which makes sense because when you’re busy, you’re basically crowding your soul. Smart, them Chinese. There have been times in my life that I looked at my plate and realized I went crazy at the buffet. It seemed there was no way I was going to get everything done without disappointing somebody. And that’s the thing about being busy – somebody winds up disappointed. Somebody gets their heart broken – or killed, as in the Chinese character, which shows they have a flare for dramatics, too.

So I’m not busy – busy is a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I’m swamped. My volunteering hours have cut deep into my family time, blogging time, reading time and let’s not mention house cleaning. As for dinner? Hah! I shamefully admit to having served yogurt one night as an entree.

Bridget said it best in her post about volunteering and school fundraising. It is degrading and self-defeating – even more so, when I’m helping the candy company dangle prizes in our kids’ faces to get them motivated to sell. It would be worth it if I could promise the funds were going to something meaningful like musical instruments or to refurbish the library or purchase new gym equipment. But the sad truth is, most students in public school have a better chance of throwing up with Justin Bieber on stage than having music in their curriculum. The amount of chocolate we’d have to sell to replace worn books would finally drown Augustus Gloop and forget gym equipment – we don’t even have a gym teacher!

I can’t complain really – on a positive note, I watched the season premier episode of “The Walking Dead” without waking up in a cold-sweat nightmare because it was overridden by fundraising chocolate dilemmas. I doubt any of the parents we represent would appreciate that until they take a bite of the “Nutty Pleasures” and realize they named it – literally.

At times, I wonder – had I skipped the last meeting where I was suckered into becoming one of the Graeae Witches, I’d have time to do things for myself – cut my curling toenails, trim my Mr. Snuffleupagus eyebrows, take a five-minute shower – instead of hanging myself out to dry.

But my husband and the boys try to convince me we’re doing a good thing – making a difference, making changes. And sometimes, like when the security guard gets a crowd going with “We’re Going To Kentucky,” or “Punchinello”, I can feel a shimmer of hope. Then there’s Samu who put his search for rhyming words to use after learning a new word – dental hygienist. Apparently, that rhymes with penis – enough said.

In the search for the right words, I’ve knocked off “busy” and decided that in it’s place, I’ll just say I’m – involved. It’s a minor adjustment that keeps me sane while I wonder if any of my sleepless nights is helping anything at all. At the end of the day, I see this drawing that tells me that I’ve been going about it all wrong. All I needed – was a marker.

My comutiy HeLper is A Techer. She uses a marker.
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